Although having supplement can be frustrating for many breastfeeding moms, it is important to remember that your baby will benefit from any amount of breastmilk that you give him. By continuing to provide breastmilk to your child while supplementing, your baby will continue to receive the immunological benefits that are unique to human milk.

Before you begin to supplement your baby’s feedings, speak with your baby’s pediatrician about your baby’s weight gain, growth and eating habits.

Is it safe to mix breastmilk and formula?

It is safe to mix breastmilk with formula in the same bottle, but then you risk wasting your precious breastmilk if your baby doesn’t finish the whole bottle. If you are supplementing expressed breastmilk feedings with formula it is best to offer a bottle of expressed milk first then offer a bottle of formula if he still seems hungry. More information about mixing breastmilk and formula can be found at the La Leche League website.

Won’t supplementing decrease my supply even more?

Since breastmilk is produced based on your baby’s demand for it your supply will dwindle if you decrease your pumping sessions. However, if you continue your regular pumping schedule (or increase the amount of pumping sessions) you can increase your milk supply.

How will supplementing affect my breastfed baby?

The composition of infant formula is very different from breastmilk so it will take your baby almost twice as long to digest formula. Because it will take more time for your baby to digest formula, he may also sleep for longer periods of time. When formula feedings are introduced, your baby’s stools will become harder and stronger smelling.

Cow’s milk and soy allergies are very common in babies during their first year of life so there is a chance that your baby may be intolerant to a specific type of formula. If your baby is intolerant to an infant formula he may spit up more after eating, become constipated.

When supplementing breastmilk feedings, infant formula or artificial baby milk is the only acceptable substitute. Water, glucose water, juice, tea or diluted milk are not recommended for supplementation because they do not have enough calories (or nutrients) to replace a breastmilk feeding.

If you are considering supplementation because you feel that your milk supply may be low, read Diminishing Milk Supply.

This article is intended for informational purposes only, and it does not take the place of medical advice from your healthcare provider. If you are considering supplementing your child’s feedings speak with your child’s physician.

Return to: Breast Pumping Issues

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